Saturday, June 18, 2011

Closing your eyes

It is war raging in my country..
A fact that I still try to grasp ,analyze,understand!
Every thing I have ever known..
All the familiar places ,people ,cities ,are as if they are alien to me..and ,I think,to many of my country men and women,,
It is war...
I close my eyes..bite my lip...try to see ,to deal with it (objectively) as my friend always say,,,but I can't..
When I close my eyes ,what I see in the dark screen of the inside of my eye lids is helplessness..
the unability to do anything that can make the difference..
I close my eyes ,I see those who were killed ..
I see the tired face of my mother..
The shocked face of my sister..
The anger in my brother eyes..
The determination in my father's..
And I see faces from my life...
My freinds..some of them will never come back..
I see the faces of those I cared about ,and respected..lost ,and confused ..
I see the faces of those I hurt before ,and now we all share the pain of what is going on in Libya,,,
I squeeze my eye lids more..
More images run on that screen..twisted with agony...strained with fear...
Then I see flash backs of my past life..The life I chose to leave..You feel the bitterness all over again..You taste smell can almos ,ALMOST, touch it...You bite your lip again,you squeeze your eyelids even more ,this time to stop that hot drop from escaping its prison...
You exhale..
you try to focus again..
Every thing is mixed up on that screen...You can't tell which part is your life ,and which is the life of others ..You just can't tell the difference..and You don't care..Because in war time,,even if you are thousads of miles away ,you still feel that burn deep inside you...
You take deep breath..
You feel ashamed..
How could you think of your self ,summon your own memories ,feel the prsonal pain ,while that ugly war is eatig your home land ,threatening your loved ones??
Then the answer comes..
Because it is is the place in which all these memories formed...surrounded all the is the place where your life HAPPENED..
You open your eyes, you look out side the window ,at a different sky...different don't need the screen anymore...The faces ,the places ,the times,the memories..They are all in front of your eyes vivid ,so real ,so close ,yet so far...You reach out with your touches nothing but air...
you release that hot drop from its prison ,to find its way down the lines of your face..your hand drops on your lap..
and you close your eyes again
and whisper: I am sorry...


Paul Edwards said...

Hello A. Greetings from Australia. Could you tell me what help you require to secure your freedom? E.g. do you want Australian ground troops to be sent?

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Benghazi Citizen,
Once again your heartfelt honesty has captured my attention and heart. You have such a way of expressing, by not over expressing, the heart of the matter----the essence of you, the essence of many I have no doubt, and even to those who experience their own inner battles that have not been able to openly express them as you have. Thank you.

Maya M said...

Sooooooooo glad to hear from you!

Benghazi Citizen said...

Paul: thank you for your commet and your question.
Obviously ,Libyan people at this stage needs all the help they can get in so mny aspects..But I am afraid that deploting troops on the ground is not considered an option by most Libyans.
The whole situation i so complex ,and it gets complicated by the second.Libyans keep an eye on their ultimate goal: freedom ,but also they keep in mind what they saw hppening in Iraq ad Afghanistan..
It doesn't matter what inentions would lie behind boots on the ground from any nation ,the fact i many will see them as occupation force(even if it technically isn't) and that will eventualy divert people from their objectives ,and make a whole new setof priorities!
Libyans know that..
ButI also I have to make a clear statement: for majority of Libyans,there is no wors situation than him staying in power..He is a mad man ,who we Libyans knew well for 4 decades!!
The help we need? we need recognition of our Transitional National Council,which proved in many occasions to be a real representative of Libyan people at ths critical times.We ned financial support..We need military support and training!
We need the interational community to recognize the people and furterly isolate that mad man!! support can come in many forms ,of which bots on the ground preferrably be the last optio!!
Thank you

Benghazi Citizen said...

Salam Ibeebarbie: Well,,as usual yor words are working just fine in warming my ached heart:)..Very kind of you ,,I dont know what to say els...Thanks
Maya: It is GREAT hearig from you,how have you been my friend??I wish all is well
best regards

Paul Edwards said...

Hi Benghazi. There are two different parts of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The initial battlefield victory (measured in weeks and fairly clinical) and the peacekeeping/insurgency. Libya is stuck trying to do the first thing.

If it is the second thing that you see in Iraq & Afghanistan and don't like, that is fine. No-one really wants to do nation-building in Libya anyway, and I don't think it is required. There were reasons to do it in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So for the first phase, if there were ground troops doing a charge towards Tripoli, I don't think Gaddafi stands a chance, and I doubt that any Libyan rebels would attempt to stop it. Experience in Afghanistan shows that the rebels welcome help and they don't fight against that.

For the second phase (which can be omitted), I am a bit surprised also - do you think that Libyans would start killing each other if there was an occupying force present, but wouldn't if there wasn't?

You have said you need military training instead. That sort of thing took years in Iraq. Are you prepared to wait years for victory?

On the political side, the TNC is already being recognized around the world. I don't think that is going to be enough to secure victory though.

Anyway, hopefully the imbalance in air power means that the training of the ground force can be measured in months instead of years. We know from Afghanistan that inferior forces can be assisted to victory from the air. But while the Northern Alliance were inferior, they still had years of combat experience.

I supported the actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Can you tell me from a Libyan perspective what you think was wrong with them? Both countries now have multiple political parties fighting for power in elections, and elected governments that are a lot better than the holocaust that used to be there. The sectarian violence in Iraq was certainly a surprise to me though. Do you think that will happen in Libya between the different tribes?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Paul
You mentioned a number of very interesting points..
Libya ,from a political and social point of view, is very different from Iraq and Afghanistan...
Libyan population is 90% Arabs ,10 % composed of different ethnicities. The vast majority ,if not all ,are sunni muslims ..The tribes co existed for centuries and they are so integrated in each other ,and really I don't seethe tribes a major issue..
We have an excellent education system that was alays the prideof Libyans ,but the regime tried to undermine that in recent years..Virtually illeteracy does not exist in Libya..
I think the odds are generally in favour of a better future..bu thereare many other variables that can not be predicted ,leave alone trying to deal with them..
I completely agree with you...If it deemed necessary to have foreign troops on the ground ,I believe there is a possibility that would be accepted! but only for a while..
I mean ,if it was Like liberating france during WWII ,and then the (liberating forces ) leave immediately ,that would be good. But if the troops decided to stay ,this will give extremists what the need to participate in that..They will do all the propaganda they used in Iraq ad Afghanistan...I was in Libya few weeks ago and saw for my self: There is no presence of extremists in Libya now, but don't be decievd..I am sure some of them are plotting some where in the world to how to be part of the game...
As for te possibility of Libyan killing each other ,Like in full scale civil war..I dont see this happening..Most of the tribes in Libya greed on this simple idea :Gaddafi has to leave..
He tried to turn Tribes against each other,but no body listened. Even he tried to ask some o the tribes that stayed neutral to attack others ,they firmly declined..It is Gaddafi's war against people..In which ,unfortunately ,Libyans -from different tribs- stand with him...
As for he support the TNC is getting: We are very thankful for that..We really appreciate the international community started to deal with this body as our representative...
It is a very complicated picture ,Paul...I can go forhours and hours..butat th en of the day ,itall comes t oneconclusion: Gaddafi ,thismonester,has to go ,with ANY means necessary....
Thank you again
Benghaz Citizen

dusk till dawn said...

well well suddenly you have spoken .out of the blue comes the deep thouths ,whats the price of a freedom . and the differnt between what u see now and the past, are we all dreaming? our hearts all bleedings , and our eyes have dried of tears, we lost the love once and close into our hearts , have they given their souls cheap ,or have they made us proud? our destiny its withan our reach ,lets all hope the night mares will wake up all. rise in the sun shine day and all the bad dreams will go away, thats a wish, along the coast of libya it will be sun shine after the rain, we all have to share the pain, lets hope for a bright future to re shine a gain,i hope u agree Dr their is a wonds needing to be re helled .i know ur so busy ,let allah guid u into ur dream .

Paul Edwards said...

Hi A. Thanks for your reply. I think we have agreement - in the immediate term what we want is recognition of the TNC, and some sort of military training for the rebels to see if that will help break the stalemate in favour of the rebels.

I think that is largely being done already. So let's work on the contingency plan for if the stalemate can't be broken.

(by the way - is there some forum we can go to to discuss this issue with other people from eastern Libya? Even if people are writing in Arabic, we have google translate available)

I think there is no doubt that foreign ground troops can produce a battlefield defeat of Gaddafi's forces. So let's compare:

1. If the liberating forces leave immediately in Libya (ie same as France in WW2), what would happen?

2. If the liberating forces had left immediately in Iraq, what would have happened?

I can tell you that I personally (as an Australian) am in favour of leaving Libya immediately, but I was not in favour of leaving Iraq immediately. Why?

In Libya, there is already some organized opposition leadership. That leadership is friendly and in favour of democracy, and is not down to one man. That leadership seems to have general acceptance by the people in Free Libya. It all seems to be a recipe for success, and there's no reason to interfere with that success. All that is required is to give that leadership some extra combat power. Foreign troops could in fact operate under the command of the TNC.

Now compare that to Iraq. There was no broadly-accepted leader to transition to. Al Sadr only emerged onto the scene later, and he certainly couldn't be trusted to introduce democracy into the country. Bear in mind also that there is no real history of Arab Muslim democracies, so in Iraq there was basically little faith that anyone could be trusted to do what needed to be done.

Then in Iraq there was the problem of the Arab vs Kurd and Sunni vs Shiite sectarian divide. The Sunnis had ruled Iraq all this time and also had the superior military training. They might have started and won a civil war to maintain their position of power. The Kurds probably wouldn't have trusted the Arabs to set up a liberal democracy, and declared independence. That would have prompted an invasion from Turkey.

The challenge - which took years in Iraq - was to set up security forces that would have allegiance to the people (democracy) instead of a new ruler. In Libya, the old security forces can largely be reused. The people won't reject their security forces. In Iraq, if the old military had been reused, the Shiites may have rejected the whole system as a sham, and fought against it. Since they are a majority, that would have been a disaster for democracy. It was important that the majority have faith in their new system for democracy to have a reasonable chance of success.

So in summary there were good reasons to do nation-building in Iraq, and I think that it was the right thing to do (sometimes there are only bad options to choose between). But in Libya, there is no need for nation-building.

What do you think?

By the way - you said you were in Libya a few weeks ago. Actually I thought you lived in Benghazi. Is that not the case? Do people in Benghazi have working phones? If so, are they at least able to send email even if they don't have full internet access available?

Paul Edwards said...

A, another thing that concerns me is that there are westerners - not sure what percentage - who are against even air power being used in Libya. To me it seems very obvious that helping to free people from a cruel dictator is a good thing. But there are other westerners who say it is a bad thing. You can see some of them here:

What can be done to win the war of ideas?

Dr.butterfly said...

hello there BC!
so good to read your posts again. though it has been a while since i have been on your blog..
but i mus say, i truly enjoyed reading your feelings. as the last part brought me to tears!

thank you!